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Monday, October 3, 2011

Yummy Gummy Bears!

Click on the links below for my activities!

First, have the students explore diffusion with an inquiry activity:

Then, have them investigate what happens to gummy bears in salt water and regular water:

Try the lab out yourself first.  It's a matter of personal preference how long you want to leave the gummy bears in water.  I chose to leave them in overnight. 

For your enjoyment:

Had anyone tried this? If you have, I would love to see some comments and suggestions below! :)


Sasha said...

Hi!! I teach high school biology and my students are actually having a really difficult time with transport. We've tried this with elodea leaves and starch/iodine but this may be a better visual representation. What kind of gummy bears do you use- I've heard that some will dissolve?

A Middle School Survival Guide said...

Hi Sasha! I think I just used Haribo brand. I tried it again the other night...24 hours is fine. When you leave it in for more than 24 hours it will tend to fall apart...but in my experience, it is still together enough to be able to mass on the scale to see the difference.

On another note (forgot to mention it in my post above): The HW for the night after this lab was that I gave each student a raisin in a baggie and had them put it in water over the weekend for HW and write a reflection/explanation on their observations.

Hope this helps!

Pandasocks said...

Awesome idea! I work in an after school facility and I tried this out today! Actually, I couldn't get a hold of gummy bears in time, so I used Swedish Fish instead. The response in water was not very fast. In fact, I wouldn't recommend using Swedish Fish for this activity. I'm eager to try it with actual gummy bears.

This was my experience:
My group today spanned from 5 year olds to 11 year olds, so I needed to simplify the sheets you set up (which were great, by the way!). We spent most of our time on the food coloring diffusion experiment. The kids really enjoyed it, though they complained that they had to wait "8 minuuuuuutes!" None of their predictions were correct, which made it all the more exciting, lol.

Explaining what a molecule was was a bit more difficult, however. I told them they were little bits made up of these things called atoms and that they make up EVERYTHING. (There was quite a discussion at this discovery!) I also told them that molecules like to bounce everywhere. At the end of the activity, I asked the kids why the food coloring spread out and prompted them to talk about molecules in their answers. One of my 8 year olds shouted out, "Because they bounced all over the place!" I also likened the diffusion to people boarding the subway system (we're based near Boston, so it's very familiar to them) - new people get on and the previous occupants have to make space so everyone can fit.

The kids gave this a thumbs up and I'm excited to do more diffusion experiments. In addition to the gummy bear one, I was thinking of comparing how the food coloring diffuses in cold water vs. hot water vs. oil.

Sorry, I've rambled quite a bit, but I just wanted to explain my experience and thank you again. :)


Technology in Education said...

I've done this for several years with my third graders to introduce notebooking procedures. I do have them measure 2 tablespoons of water in each container and cover it, then they remeasure the amount of water that was left the next day. They loved it and got some "advanced" science thinking in there, too!

My Little 'Lines said...

My daughter did this experiment for a science fair project and needs to cite you in her bibliography. I can't find your name anywhere to include as author. Can you please provide that? My email is
Thanks! It's a great experiment!

E.S. Ivy said...

Hi! I saw this on Pinterest and it's a really great illustration to make science relevant!

However, I wonder if "diffusion" is the best way to explain this? My first thought is it's a lot like isotonic and hypertonic solutions - which is relevant to both biology and chemistry. But that's not exact because it doesn't involve a semipermeable membrane. But what is essentially happening is in both cases the water is trying to move in the direction to dilute the solutes more.

Then there is the fact that osmotic pressure across a semi-permeable membrane is a type of diffusion.

And then, is the gummy bear a solid or a liquid or something in between? If you think of the gummy bear as a semi-solid liquid, then you could look at it as diffusion, and actually diffusion isn't complete until the gummy bear dissolves!

A lot of great things to talk about here about how science isn't as exact and doesn't fit into the neat little boxes we try to put it in.

A Middle School Survival Guide said...

@My Little 'Lines ...I am so sorry I missed this. I took a 2 year hiatus from blogging. I hope her project went well!

@E.S. Ivy ...absolutely. I agree. It is more of a model for them to support them with a visual representation of something that is normally abstract for them. It also is more sanitary than the classic egg/membrane diffusion activity (although I still like that, too!)

Unknown said...

hey. this is great . i am an experienced middle schooler and this worked great for science fair. tysm.

Yaqub said...
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